I hate Kanye, He’s Awesome

I have to jump on this bandwagon because I’m hearing a lot of opinions in the mental health social media community (that’s a thing now. Dear Lord.) about Kanye’s recent interview with David Letterman. The interview is on Netflix.

They talked about a few things. Clothes, art, and Kanye’s “church”. I don’t–I won’t comment on whatever all that is about.

Whatever.

When they first get into the mental health stuff, Letterman attempts to sum up Kanye’s bipolar diagnosis in an “easy” and “simple” way. He states “the synapses get fatigued and say ‘we’re not carrying this message anymore'”. I won’t ding Letterman for this, nor Kanye for agreeing with it because neither of them have probably ever read a neurology or psychology textbook in their life. But to make it clear, synapses aren’t getting fatigued. If we could tell you what was happening in any mental health condition, they wouldn’t exist anymore.

Kanye gets to a point where he needs to get something off of his chest. He says there’s a moment he experienced in his treatment that needs to be changed and if any of you have read even just one of my many posts, you’ll know that I smiled largely as I guessed what that experience was.

He explains that in the moment of one of his episodes, he feels hyper paranoid about everything, that everyone is an actor, everything is a conspiracy. I’d say that’s pretty similar to what many of us feel. He says, “you feel everyone wants to kill you and they handcuff you and drug you and put you in the bed and they separate you from everyone you know. Something I’m so happy I experienced myself so I can start by changing that moment.”

He’s talking about forced/coercive treatment, but also about the general vibe when you’re hospitalized. The last time I was taken against my will, no family was allowed to visit me until I was transferred to a different hospital an hour away where no one could come visit me anyway. While in the crisis unit, I continuously called my mother asking what the hospital staff were telling her, because they wouldn’t be honest with me and I didn’t trust anyone. I couldn’t. People were possessed and impostors and unreal and I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t feel that also extended to their family.

Kanye very openly, and rightfully so, regards this as “cruel and primitive” and I agree to an extent. Is it smart to have all ten family members crammed in the hospital with you while you’re crippled by voices and dread? Probably not. But if, for whatever reason, you have just one person you can even remotely trust for two halves of a second, blocking that contact with the outside world only pushes you further in your head. As Kanye said: “This is like a sprained brain, like having a sprained ankle. And if someone has a sprained ankle, you’re not going to push on him more.”

Then, the big controversy comes: the meds.

I figured his opinion wouldn’t be very popular.

He said he has been medication free for eight months. Some of the crowd claps. I would have. Wouldn’t you clap for your friend or parent who was able to come off their blood pressure medication? Do they run the risk of raising it with bad eating habits and lack of exercise just as Kanye runs the risk of being carried away by mania while refusing to take care of his mental health in other ways? Can’t your friend’s blood pressure rise again for no clear reason, just as Kanye’s mania can come unprovoked? Doesn’t your friend run the risk of death just as Kanye theoretically would were he to dip into a serious low? If everyone in the world wants to compare mental health to physical health, then compare it that way too.

But, Kanye is very clear he’s not advocating for everyone to go off their meds. How have people missed this? I have the quote right here, verbatim: “When we clap at the idea of not being on medication–my form of mental health I think is like the luxury version of it. There’s people who can’t function without medication. So I’m not advocating–I’m telling you MY specific story.”

It’s the same thing I tell others. All. The. Time. Yes, I’ve gone off and on meds. Yes, there were times the meds were extremely necessary. And there were times they were a detriment. And for ME, my PERSONAL DECISION was that I have always felt better off medication than on. And I needed to choose: be compliant with meds 100% or leave them alone 100%. It was the on again off again that was torturous.

So even with Kanye stating specifically his personal experience, we think we have the right to tell him what’s better for his body, basically stigmatizing our own. I’ve never once told a mental health peer to go off their meds. But I’ve been told thousands of times by peers to go back on meds. That’s like a religious fanatic: don’t tell me about your atheist or Muslim or Jewish views, but let me tell you about the love of Jesus Christ and why you should accept him into your heart because that’s what’s best for you, that’s what will save your soul.

It’s hard to feel accepted with a mental health diagnosis. It’s even harder when your own people are against you.

Letterman then goes on to explain his own experience with medication and the advances in medication targeting specific areas of the brain (which is just misinformation) and says that medication is what helped him see clearer. Kanye, at some point, reflects that it’s great for him that he found a medication with the least amount of side effects that works for him. That’s the only way to respond. That’s the way I often respond.

My point? Why does Letterman get praise for pushing the efficacy of medication he has proven he doesn’t understand the chemistry of, and Kanye get flack for choosing to go through his mental health journey in a different way? Because medication works for you? Because it’s saved your life and you want to save him too? What if he doesn’t need saving?

This ties into so many topics. Coercion, publication bias, and this idea that we know what’s best, that we have the right to force help on someone.

This isn’t a man in a coma who would never want to sign a DNR. This is a man who is conscious, albeit not in your reality. And that makes you uncomfortable–maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’ve seen how families can fall apart. Whatever it is. But the point is we must eradicate your discomfort by subduing his experience.

This is coming from someone who recognizes this need to help is innate and out of good intention.

This is also coming from someone who recognizes and has experienced the terror and pain that we go through. This is coming from someone who knows first hand that sitting in two week old dirty clothes, ratty hair, no food while listening and believing voices telling me I’m going to die soon, that I won’t be on this earth anymore, fucking sucks. This is coming from someone who absolutely appreciated the moment medication helped bring me from that. This is also coming from someone who recognizes medication isn’t always a life sentence.

This is coming from someone who understands that you can’t talk to your high blood pressure, but you can talk to your voices. I’d say that’s a pretty big wedge in the whole “mental health should be treated like physical health” argument.

But talking–that’s rarely encouraged in traditional psychiatry. A shame. A lot can come from it.

My point? Don’t stigmatize each other. Don’t act like we as a species have all the answers in the world. Don’t act like anyone really understands the mechanisms of any medication. And don’t thwart someone’s individuality because it clashes with your beliefs.

A Rant A Day Keeps the Psychiatrist Away

Must. Vent.

Ass. Hurts. From. Sitting. But. Must. Belt. Out. This. Post.

My last post consisted of my complaining about something or other, a career or whatever, abandoning my people, becoming a no-good-foul-traitor, but all of those worries have been eradicated. I will be pursuing another degree in physics while simultaneously keeping my connections to the mental health community by remaining employed as a peer counselor, participating in trainings, and eventually getting involved with NAMI: In Your Own Voice. So, all that complaining I did in the last post? Yeah, ignore that, I figured it out.

This post is a different kind of complaining. This post is more . . . hmm, what’s the word?

Seriously, what’s the word? How about you read the post and then tell me in the comments a word that sums all this shit up.

It’s been . . . five months? Six months off medication? I’m not exactly sure how long it’s been. I haven’t heard any variation of voices since the night I tried to kill myself (a post about that wonderful experience here) and my mood has been relatively–relatively–stable.

I feel like I need to re-customize this blog. The fact that the titles of the post don’t show up on the homepage literally makes me want to kick a bird.

I would never do that, I love animals.

I do this with my cat on the daily, and 99% of the time she fucking hates it

And this is the type of energy I’ve had since I quit those godawful medications. A warning to anyone attempting the Trintellix route: BE CAREFUL. It’s very understudied, still very new in terms of psychiatric medications go, and it fucked me up when I got off of it. My blood would have been on that companies’ hands.

I did have a bit of a breakdown yesterday, the first major one in five months, and that’s what’s prompting me to write this post. Just when you think you’re through the thickest part of the forest, you turn west and an abundance of pine trees cover your path in thicket.

While writing a different post for a different blog, I recounted my childhood in relation to school, specifically math classes. And while writing I got this overwhelming sensation, this bombardment of pain, a deep pain, a subconscious pain, one my conscious mind couldn’t comprehend. I couldn’t type anymore, the words were so muddied it felt like every sentence sounded like jumbled shit.

I couldn’t identify any other emotion besides pain. I couldn’t recount what kind of pain it was. I was sad, hurt, frustrated, confused–it felt like I was one of those Russian dolls that have smaller dolls hidden inside of it, and one of the smaller dolls was screaming in agony while simultaneously being burned alive, raped, and verbally accosted.

I’m sorry for that picture, but that’s the depth of the pain.

School is generally shit for most people. Very rarely have I met a person who said: “I liked everything about every year of my school and I don’t have one embarrassing or bad memory related to it”. If you are one of those people, comment or email me, because I want to hear your story.

But school wasn’t that horrible for me. I didn’t talk, suffered through Selective Mutism for a while, then paralyzing anxiety. I had trouble making friends, I was shit in math, and I was an outcast. No one really bullied me because I was tall, athletic, and hung out with kids who brought tasers and drugs to school. Home life was hard: surrounded by domestic violence, drugs, alcohol, emotional torment. And while I recognize all of that as a sort of systematic trauma, I thought for sure my awareness of it would cut down on the effect it has on me. Apparently I was wrong.

There must be some memory–or memories–of which I’ve either repressed or I just ignore and refuse to explore because there is an inner child, an inner part of me, that is consistently crying, screaming, cowering. It never stops. And sometimes there’s a “trigger” that ignites this part of me, like writing about my childhood.

A therapist I had at the Outpatient group I attended insisted I get in touch with my inner child but the closer I got to speaking with her the more distant and dissociated I became. That was another catalyst for that wonderful get-in-the-tub-and-kill-yourself incident you can read about in the above linked post.

Another trigger for me is when teachers say “Alright, we’re going to do an activity today” or “We’ll do something fun today”. The word “activity” alone sparks my fight and flight response whether it’s at a team meeting at work or a class or a workshop or a training. Or, when people say “you’re so quiet.” Even when they mean it in a good way.

Speaking of training, I have a three hour one on Wednesday of which has been really fucking with my head. I don’t do well around large groups of people and if I’m forced to do a role play in front of even five people I will spontaneously combust. I will.

I’m scared to touch my inner child with a ten foot pole because it seems like a volatile, unstable, nuclear ball of energy. I know I need to do it in order to properly heal, but I haven’t found anyone who can help me through that process yet. The last therapist I had who I paid for not only discounted my job and my skills, but insisted I get a second job even through I was curling on her couch crying my eyes out every session. I could barely hold my head up, and she wanted me to push myself harder.

I’m done with those kind of people in my life. Sometimes it’s not about pushing through the hard stuff, sometimes it’s about holding the hard stuff.

It feels good to post on here again, a real post. Not a whiny, woe-as-me post, but a thoughtful, reflective rant.

The word to sum up this post: Fuck.

Career Shameer

It’s 10:44 in the morning. I got off of work two hours ago. I am sleep deprived from the last few days, and quite irritable. That’s the perfect time to belch out a post. Agreed?

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but my best cognitive realizations and abilities are birthed from pure, elegant exhaustion. I did much better in Calculus at eight thirty in the morning after four hours of sleep than I did in an afternoon class after a solid seven and a half hours of sleep the night before. My brain is backwards and I appreciate that.

However, I am at a rather jarring crossroads in my life right now. After the last three years of being in and out of psychiatric hospitals, on and off psychiatric medications, jumping around from (ignorant) diagnosis to diagnosis, gaining weight, losing weight, gaining weight again, in and out of a four year relationship, it’s left my education in shambles.

Most of you know I currently work as a Peer Support worker at a Peer Respite house and if you didn’t know, now you know. Somewhere on this blog I still have the post I put up about my first day of work there. I’ve been there for 2.5 years by this point, the longest job I’ve ever held. I started when I was 20 years old, a month or two away from my 21st birthday that I don’t remember. In my interview I told them I was a Pre-Med student eager for a career in psychiatry to fight the system.

I am now 23, four months away from my 24th birthday.

I’m not quite sure what happened. I was fully invested in my psychology degree and unscathed by the physics and math required for Med-school. I was a little perturbed about chemistry. I can’t balance an equation to save my fucking life. Another fun fact: put a Calculus equation in front of me, or teach me Linear Algebra and I”ll eat it alive. Put a pre-algebra word problem in front of me and I crumble, I disintegrate. As a writer, you think I’d understand what word problems are asking of me. As someone pretty decent at math, you’d think I’d understand how to calculate what’s being asked of me. Both of your assumptions would be horribly, horribly misled. I’m sure you can, then, deduce how well physics went.

My point in all this rambling is I can’t figure out what I want to study in college anymore. My psychology degree is almost complete and I don’t much care for it anymore. Every psychology class I take I no longer take interest in. Perhaps it’s from 1) living the experience of mental health issues and realizing textbook explanations are pale in comparison, 2) understanding the corruption that lies in the mental health industry/business, and 3) from working in the exact opposite environment that I would be working in were I to pursue my original career choice.

Perhaps it’s my stubbornness. I don’t want to answer to Insurance companies. I don’t want to be solicited or bribed by pharmaceutical salesmen offering me money to push certain drugs. I don’t want to have to deny someone my services because their insurance won’t pay for me because they don’t want medication. I don’t want to make that choice for them, it’s not my business. I don’t want to go into private practice and have to charge 300 dollars an hour and limit myself to an elitist group when we’re all very much aware that the people who need the most help are often struggling with housing, substance use, financial issues, as well as their mental health.

I don’t want to work for a county that would allow me to see that population but underpay me significantly and overload me with cases. I don’t want to only be allowed to see those people for 15 minutes when they need so much more time than that. I don’t want to be considered a doctor that only hands out medication. I don’t do well with rules that are illogical and all of the aforementioned happens to be just that.

And yet I feel that to not pursue this would be abandoning my own people. I feel the difference I wish to make can only begin with legitimizing myself, and unfortunately that requires a college degree in this day and age. But if the passion for the classes isn’t there anymore–where does that leave me? I still have a fiery passion for exposing pharmaceutical companies for what they are, for guiding people through their own mental health journey, for offering other opportunities and healing besides medication and hospitalization, but I just can’t handle sitting through these fucking brainwashing classes and pretend to care about what they’re saying.

So do I start over? Do I accept the psychology degree and switch to a different discipline? Do I follow my original plan, which would require a hard science degree? Do I have the confidence for that? Or will word problems best me? Will I make the same mistake, get the degree, and then not want to pursue the discipline? Will I even be able to get the degree? Or do I say fuck school all together and live the rest of my life check to check, roommate to roommate?

I’ve been off all meds for a couple months now. No antipsychotics, no mood stabilizers, no antidepressants, no sleep medication. I’ve 360’d my diet, and now exercise five days a week for an hour and a half. I’m making a lot of changes and it feels like it’s only natural that my career path do the same.

The real problem is i’d love to have a career in physics and a career in peer support. That just doesn’t seem realistic though. Research during the day, peer during the night? Sounds exhaustive.

What’s helped you choose your career path? Are you still searching for something? Are you at a crossroads too?

College: To be Or Not To Be?

o-dinner-with-kids-facebookAge 1-4: Develop as a mini human being. Make messes, be silly, discover how disgusting healthy fruit and/or vegetables are and how delicious candy that looks like fruit and/or vegetables are. Generally allowed to make bathroom mistakes without being whipped with a belt across the back.

Age 5-10: Introduction to education (and the system). Learn (or don’t learn) how to communicate with peers. Get labeled weird if you don’t. Get labeled annoying and inattentive if you do. Learn you are what label you’ve been given. Live up to label. Beg your parents for a cell phone because “everyone else has one!”.

Age 10-15: Get bricked in the face by puberty. Live up to the label you were given or prepare to be ostracized. Think about what you might be interested in as a job. Perhaps get a job if you have THOSE kind of parents. Convince yourself your popularity and status in 498ddf446ef98b77b1492eadc8100e1818ab60ecf7da47b86a152d6cf5476c45_1.jpghigh school is, like, the only thing that’s really important because, like, isn’t life about networking? Get excited about a driver’s permit. Get excited about driving. Realize you need money and a job to own a car. Rock in the corner for hours after realizing you can’t be both lazy and rich until you’re actually rich.

Age 16-19:  Fuck labels. Stupid conformists! See working a job as another way to kiss the ass of The Man, see NOT working as a middle finger to The System. Identity makes attempts at stabilization, and fails many, many times. Worry you have every listed disorder in the DSM because you’ve just never been able to do this, or that, or this and that and it’s all in the news that parasites from cats cause this thing called Schizophrenia and your mom has two cats who used to lick your face when you were a baby. Apply to colleges. Start college. Immediately, and simultaneously, like it and hate it. Smile because you might be on a good path now.

Age 20-onward: Find an awkward, unbalanced point between “fuck the system” and “submit to the system”.  Smile because you realize your path is way more unpredictable than you intended.

I’m in the latter category. The category of internal and external exploration and a heaping pile of “OhShitOhShitOhShit”. That’s how I would describe my personal experience with being in the twenty-something category.

For those who are unaware, I lost my mind for a good two weeks, and I am grounded once more . . . at least, more than before. Within this time frame I’ve spent at least 500 dollar or more on things I’m surprised to find in the mail, I wrapped packing tape around certain limbs of my body for a couple nights to keep away the cold that the demons were causing, I got a few pages of unintelligible rambles, and I’ve probably gained a couple pounds eating way too much chocolate. I have a feeling much of this had to do with the worse peak of the withdrawal from Effexor. I have been this way before, but usually from anxiety, stress, being overwhelmed, over stimulated, not sleeping enough, e.t.c.

3c0fe46571bcdfd94dcac8b26d757caaI spun into a hole of wishing sweet Miss Murder would swoop from her perch on the tree of Freedom and take me to a new Kingdom away from this earth, then bounced into a world of sweet treats and happiness and ideas and the realization that the entity which follows me was the cause of my sudden depression. That spun me into a whole other world of psychedelic colors and Cheshire cats and voices laughing at me because I couldn’t get to sleep. One of the bitches mocked me for four hours because “she can’t sleep–look at her, she can’t sleep“.

Straight out of her mouth. Hoe. If she were a physical being, I’d knock her out cold with a “left, right, right, left, she’s toothless”.

I finally got up a bit of courage to explain some of my mindset to a real human being in a live conversation over the phone (i.e, my wonderful boyfriend), and let off all of that pressure, things subsided a bit–enough to where I could at least sleep at 4:55 a.m instead of 6 a.m.

That helped. A lot. And I got a bit disappointed when I woke up the next morning realizing one of my largest struggles is that I don’t reach out. Then I realized I don’t reach out not necessarily because of anxiety, but because I don’t know how. I really don’t.

It’s a skill you have to learn, almost, and mostly from your family environment. You learn you can trust your parents or cousins or whoever so that whenever you have a problem, you can go to them and they won’t tell you “suck it up” or “that’s just the way it is” or “you’ll grow out of it”, e.t.c , e.t.c–invalidation, that’s called.

Well, invalidation is all I know. This may just be the root of my distrust, and why I’m so off-put sometimes by kindness. It might be why I’m so prone to paranoia about being mistreated, about being watched, about being followed. It might be that my brain turns my feeling invalidated into a feeling of otherworldliness, of being constantly mocked both in this world and in a spiritual world.

I’ve noticed that with a lot of families, particularly ethnic or mixed families, that “problems” are not always seen as struggles to be overcome or understood, but weaknesses to get over or to hide or to, at the very least, never speak of again. That’s how I grew up.

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And that’s the direction I want to take my program. Because of whatever factors are in my family’s past, I was never taught or encouraged to reach out, other than “if someone offers a drug and you wanna do it, bring it home first”. Because I’ve never reached out, I’ve never known about resources.

As I mentioned in my last post, there’s this weird middle ground in mental health categorization between “moderate” and “severe”. Those who are “moderate” often seek a therapist and try coping methods. Those who are “severe” often learn of resources through inpatient (and most often involuntary) hospitalization. So . . . where are the rest of us?

The rest of us are where I am. The rest of us are all different ages. We struggle reaching out, we struggle knowing about resources and therefore are the most silent group of mental health consumers. We’re the ones most abundant in online support groups. This isn’t a matter of knowing they existed and not going because of anxiety–this is a matter of actually NOT knowing.

The anxiety can come later, when we find out resources exist.

This is a matter of not knowing where to start, how to start, or what to expect. And that is what I’m developing this program for, geared towards those of us with ethnic, cultural, or family issues interfering with our ability to take care of our mental health. Because, within the last 24 hours, I have found over ten resources I could have been taking advantage of, had I known they existed–excluding the peer respite house I work at now. The peer respite I learned about through chance too–a fucking post on some obscure job website that got recommended to me in email.

And sometimes it’s not as simple as googling “support groups” or whatever. Because those of us in this category don’t know how to reach out, it’s not always anxiety that keeps us from these things, it’s the prospect of having to make a connection and being unable to know what that even means. Those of us in this category sometimes need a little extra support.

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I’m developing a type of outreach program that supports people in finding resources who perhaps are new to this “mental health” thing, or new to a hospital (which would have been nice when I went there). A type of outreach program geared towards–but not solely focused on–ethnic groups. A type of outreach that offers not just a relay system of “here’s a resource, go here”, but also a peer approach that recognizes “wow, you’ve been through a lot, tell me a bit about it”. That strikes up conversation, eases anxiety and builds connection–and then resources. A type of outreach program that keeps in touch with people, that is a consistent support, not a brief one. A type of outreach program that works with those same individuals with finding volunteer opportunities, vocational opportunities (or, at the very least, a place to go to find vocational opportunities) and other community opportunities. A type of outreach that doesn’t just reach out to the “mentally ill” (ugggg, I shudder whenever I type that now), but also to the rest of the community, that builds relationships with other programs and schools and hospitals. A type of outreach program that reaches just a little farther than most. 

To accomplish this, I’m having to overcome many things as well–like my fear of reaching out. I’ve found so many support groups and peer classes to get involved with, even more than I’d known about through my work place. Through the connections I make, I want to be able to develop a solid pitch and perhaps even a small team to present to the fellowship I mentioned before.

I’ve been in college for almost four years now. I came to a startling revelation that one of my main goals toward becoming a psychiatrist was being able to interact with my peers on the “highest” level possible. Being able to interact with people who struggle the worst sometimes–i.e., voices, mood swings, e.t.c, and I knew often those kind of people don’t seek therapy, but psychiatrists. I also thought that was wrong; I wanted to be a combination of a therapist and psychiatrist.

Tonight I realized I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to already and more. I’ve been doing it for 8 fucking months and it’s taken me this long to realize it. It’s taken me almost four years of college to realize I don’t need college. That’s the reason I’ve been so unmotivated and depressed this semester: I’m not doing what I need or wish to. I’ve been frustrated because I can’t “be a successful student” like the other students.

Because I’m not like the other students.

Revelations (Question Mark)

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the future. I’ve been thinking a lot about independence and my struggles with it and, most of all, my career. I’ve been thinking about transferring to another university and falling into the same hole I have over here of never reaching out and saving my grades by the skin of my teeth at the last minute. I’ve been wondering what I really, really want to do with my life.

I’ve been wondering about this position I hold now and how much it’s impacted me on an internal level. How I thought I’d had it all figured out before, how I was so arrogant about my “progressive” stance in the mental health industry. How I preached that those of us struggling with our mental health should band together and be a community and “F.T.I.” as Tech N9ne would say. “Fuck. The. Industry.” How I preached all of that and failed to see that my vendetta against the industry has literally made no impact. It did nothing. It never will do anything.

So I’m changing my visions.

And I’ve got ideas. Boy do I have ideas.

What I’ve experienced with respite houses is unfathomable love and support. I experienced some genuine concern and gentleness from people in the hospital, but not at this level. I pray for the day we see a hybrid cross between the two: a peer respite that has hospital services that aren’t down your throat, up your ass kind of services. In fact, I want to be apart of that merge. I don’t think any kind of mental health care can move forward without us being a true influencing force behind it.

By “influencing force” I mean participating within the industry.

We could burn down the APA and the pharmaceutical billionaires, but as much as that fantasy really titillates my pleasure glands, what good will that really do? 

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So I’ve been thinking up ideas. I’ve been thinking of ways to both involve myself in the mental health community and ways to get the mental health community and I in all the rest of the aspects of community. I’ve been thinking of starting something.

I have many, many ideas. Not starting something big, not starting something wholly impressive like Paypal or Tesla, but something smaller, maybe like a Lenovo IdeaPad compared to a Macbook Pro. We all have to start somewhere.

“Oh no, what now, don’t go off the deep end”.

I know you’re all thinking that. But this idea that I have, I’ve been putting a lot of organization and thought into it. I’ve also been thinking about how rough of a transition it is to go from hospitalization to different programs and places and how it can feel like you’re being juggled around from place to place, from people to people, and even when some of the places are good, it can get exhausting to deal with it all. I’ve also been thinking about how important it can be to have an advocate on your side, and how–at least with the system in this town–if you’re not part of a specific program and you’re struggling or end up the hospital, there aren’t too many options for you.

Nicole's liberal dog college: 'We believe there is a gray area between good dog and bad dog.'There’s this weird middle ground between a classification of “moderate” and “severe”, between “insured” and “uninsured”, between “needs daily help” and “is generally well”, Between “no support” and “has support”. And I’ve been wondering, since I’m one of these middle ground people who sometimes struggle reaching out, what would beneficial for me? What kind of program that is connected in some way to peer programs?

A program that is a good educator for the community. Sure, NAMI does that I believe, but that’s not their main focus. They have many things they focus on, which is great. They’re a huge ass organization, with great funding. But what about something focused on advocacy and education? On helping people in hospitals, especially new-comers, finding all  the possible resources that could help them get back on their feet? Something that worked in conjunction to peer places and other like-minded programs? Something that, perhaps, helped vocationally or volunteer wise? Something–anything–to promote peer connection and community connection?

At the moment, there’s a fellowship I’m attempting to receive, that would help me create something like this locally. It’s going to take a while.

A condition of the fellowship, were I to receive it, is that I drop out of college. That scared me.

I came back to it and read their mission, their reasoning for this requirement, and I fell in love with it. I’m willing to give up college for the time being to become a part of something worth more than a degree. College isn’t going anywhere.

I’ve never been a college kid anyway. I’m good at academia, but it’s never been my real interest. My ideas have been my real interest. Besides, since when was school for smart people?

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Why would I wait another ten years to start a bit of what I planned on starting from the beginning any damn way? Why pass up an opportunity to Just Do It?

Obviously the refined finishings will be more innovative than what I put up there, and worth the amount put in by the investors and the amount awarded. I’ll be updating everyone on this. It’s not a “sudden” thing, really, I’ve been thinking about this idea for a couple years, before I even knew something like a respite house or a peer program existed.

What I want to do will be different and much smaller. It won’t be a respite or a group or anything that already exists. It will be smaller than all of the combined, but profound nonetheless, and connected to all of the above. I’ve got until I turn 23 to develop this idea to finite pieces, pitch it, and get the fellowship. That’s a year and a half. If there were ever a time for hypomania to be introduced to my life, now would be the time.

Ha ha see I can make jokes too.

I’ll stop now.